So I see it's been left to me to fill you in on the rest of the weekend. But I just can't help but add a little more about the weekend before I charge ahead with Sunday and Monday.
Friday night we had Ian and Casey over. We grabbed some dinner just across the street they said had the good Bibimbap and Kimbap (a seaweed wrapped roll similar to a California roll but with different stuff inside). This place literally had 2 tables and bars in either side with seating so its not exactly a huge joint. In walks four Americans from whom taking orders apparently was going to be difficult and bothersome so the server promptly ignored us for upwards of 30 minutes. She and the cook were doing dishes in the back whilst the four of us were trying to catch their eyes. Finally we gave her our very simple orders and got our food. The bibimbap was very good except for the usual super spicy red sauce on everything here. We headed back to our place and didn't end up playing scrabble but rather chatted and watched some TV. Casey did show me how to make some cute snow flakes though and brought me some actual origami paper, some plain white paper, some tape, and some colored pencils that were extras from school. We had such a nice time that before we knew it, it was 4am they headed home and we desperately needed to get some sleep before our scheduled day with Dir. Lee.
Saturday was just wonderful, it was nothing I expected and yet everything I had hoped. We took the bus with Chelsea to Danyang and met Dir. Lee, his wife, and their son who has just come home for winter break. College students here have a winter break as opposed to the States where college students get the summer off. He will start back in March.
As Ben mentioned we had a lovely meal, nothing to spicy or crazy except for the raw crab with that devilish red sauce that seems to haunt us everywhere. We both slurped it out of its shell and promptly gagged and downed a cup of water and headed straight for several spoonfuls of rice. The beef stew was nothing like I expected it was more soup like but nonetheless delicious. The broth was so tasty and it had mushrooms and onions in it. The side dishes were different then we'd had before too so that was interesting. They love their oysters here for some reason and I just can't seem to do it. I tried it once here and gaged the entire time and nothing about it made me want to try again. My other reason being I just don't know how fresh they are. So many restaurants around here have tanks out front and the watery is murky and it just doesn't seem like anything fresh or good could come out of there.
After lunch we headed to Jennifer's house to drop her off and meet her dad. I'm not exactly sure what city if any she lives in because it was literally in the mountains and with not another house around. It was about a 30 minutes drive from Danyang and a gorgeous one at that. So we arrived to find a collection of 2 large homes and 3 or so smaller units all belonging to the family. According to average Korean standards this is a lot of land and loads of living space. Her father welcomed us into their lovely home. It was toasty warm and smelled of something roasting over the fire. We were seated on hand-carved custom made wooden furniture. Jennifer's grandma wanted everything in the home to be original, to be traditionally Korean. The great room serves at the living and entertaining room as it also house the incredible wood burning stove. There is such an amazing smell and warmth that it lends to a house, and with all the beautiful wood trim and antler chandelier it almost felt like a cozy ski lodge. Before we even sat down an elderly lady we assumed to be J's grandma, turns out it wasn't, came up to us and hugged us both at the same time just apparently so excited there were guests in the house. After that she ran into the kitchen and before we knew it there was a large platter of fruit in front of us and J's dad was pulling out roasted sweet potatoes from the wooden stove. Even though we had just eaten a large meal I couldn't resist eating and so we ate and ate and ate... as we ate they explained to us how they grew most of what we were eating. They thought it was important to connect with the land and use it resources so they grow everything organically because its healthier. And let me tell you it truly did taste better.
Dir. Lee and his wife being traditional Korean's they never show up empty handed. So being the super generous kind people they are, they bought 2 large boxes of fruit for the host. It was such a lovely time, we just enjoyed our selves talking and listening in various forms of Konglish.
We left there headed to HomePlus, almost a Sam's Club its so large but with 5 floors and escalators flowing in between. We got a few little things we needed and pretty much just wondered the huge selection of items from clothes and shoes to an entire grocery store. I did find some PJ's fake VS Pink actually, they look soooo similar except the quality isn't as good but they are cute!
On our way home we drove past a fruit stand and Mrs. Lee decided she wanted to buy a box so Mr. Lee pulled off to oblige her. She bought a large box of apples we later found out as they dropped us off at our building. As we were gathering our things from the trunk she managed to put 1/2 the box of apples into our grocery box. They are just simply the kindest most thoughtful people ever. They realized how much we enjoyed the apples we had at Jennifer's house and they knew right where to get some.
Sunday was completely uninteresting. We literally did nothing. We, mostly I, was completely exhausted from Friday and Saturday so we crashed. We slept till noon, ate, and I watched awful Korean TV.
Monday we were scheduled to go to immigration with Dir. Lee. It was a very long and car sickness inducing 2-hour drive. The curvy mountainous roads and the horrific driving made for and incredibly exhausting day. It only took us about 30 minutes when we got to the immigration office and then we were back in the car for another 2-hour terrorizing drive home. Since we didn't leave until 1pm we grabbed some dinner on the way home as Ben had to teach class right when we got back. We grabbed some noodles at a stop along the way and I think that helped with the whole motion sickness thing.
Well that was that for the weekend, sooo bummed our camera died so early on in that day because we saw some beautiful places off the beaten path that only the locals would know about. It was priceless, like Ben said the kind of stuff we had hoped to see and experience in our year in Korea.
Well that's it for now from the flip side...